How to Plan a Perfect Puerto Rico Itinerary

Puerto Rico is a phenomenal destination for travelers looking for an island getaway. It’s truly magical with its sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and lush rainforests. Plus, it’s easy to get to from the United States, doesn’t require a passport, and is an excellent choice for solo, family, and adult-only travel groups. 

Not sure what to include in your itinerary? No problem! Check out these tips to help you make the most of your time on the island. 

Old San Juan

Your first stop should be Old San Juan, the city’s historic center and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Puerto Rico. Highlights include:

  • The El Morro fort (built to protect against attacks by sea).
  • La Fortaleza (the Governor’s Mansion).
  • The San Cristobal fort (the largest fort in North America).

Be sure to wander around the colonial streets and take in the rest of the historic landmarks, cobblestone streets, and colorful architecture. If you’re hungry, stop by one of the many restaurants or cafes for some traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. 

Insider Tip: Old San Juan can be crowded during peak tourist season. If you want to avoid crowds, we recommend visiting early or late in the afternoon/evening. 

El Yunque National Forest

After spending a day exploring Old San Juan, it’s time to head out of the city and into nature. Just an hour’s drive, by rental or tour guide, from San Juan is El Yunque National Forest. With more than 24 miles of recreational trails, you can spend your day sliding down a waterfall, enjoying one of the many hiking trails, or kayaking through the forest. Bring your swimsuit to dip in one of the refreshing pools! 

Insider Tip: The best way to experience El Yunque is by taking one of the guided tours. This way, you’ll learn about the forest’s history and ecology, see some of the most popular attractions, and even safely go off the beaten path. 

Bioluminescent Bay

Puerto Rico is home to three bioluminescent bays, but our favorite is Bio Bay Vieques. Here you can take a kayak or paddleboard tour and experience firsthand what it’s like to paddle through glowing waters. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t want to miss! 

Insider Tip: Book your tour in advance as they often sell out months in advance, especially during peak season. 

Enjoy the Nightlife

Puerto Rico has no shortage of clubs and bars, so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste. There’s something for everyone from hip-hop, reggaeton, and salsa clubs.

And if you’re past the club stage and looking for a more laid-back nightlife experience, then opt for some other nightlife options. There are bars, karaoke spots, beach bars, and food trucks. You’re sure to fall in love with Puerto Rico after dark. 

Insider tip: If you want to avoid the cover charges, head to a bar or club early. Most clubs don’t have a cover charge before 10 pm or 12 am.

Beach Days

After all that adventuring, you’ll want to spend at least one day lounging on the beach. And you’re in luck because the beaches in Puerto Rico are absolutely stunning. In San Juan, our favorite beaches are Isla Verde and Condado. If you want to escape the city, head to Playa Flamenco on Vieques Island or Luquillo Beach.

Insider tip: Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen! The sun is powerful in Puerto Rico, and you don’t want to shell out for aloe vera once you’re already on vacation.

Puerto Rico is an excellent choice for first-timers and seasoned travelers who need a vibrant, lively, tropical vacation. If you’re interested in heading to Puerto Rico, get in touch for a customized itinerary that’ll wow you from the moment you arrive to the second you leave.

We would love to have you join us for a night or two in Puerto Rico before our Virgin Voyages Brilliant Lady cruise to Southeastern Caribbean islands!